One day after a controversial ruling on a drop, Patrick Reed ran away from the field at Torrey Pines, taking the Farmers Insurance Open by five strokes. Reed is the first player to win by five strokes or more at Torrey Pines since Tiger Woods won by eight in 2008. Woods, of course, won the U.S. Open later that year on the same layout. The U.S. Open returns to Torrey Pines later this year.
Reed won despite ranking tied for 63rd for the week in greens in regulation. So, how good was his short game? Over the last thirty years, 0.7% of PGA Tour winners have ranked 63rd or worse that week in greens hit. Since the PGA Tour started keeping statistics in 1983, Reed is the only player to win a tournament by three strokes or more while ranking outside the top-60 that week in greens in regulation.
Reed has now won nine times in his PGA Tour career. Since 2013 – his first full season on Tour – Reed is one of just six players with nine or more victories. The others are Dustin Johnson (18 wins), Justin Thomas (13), Rory McIlroy (12), Jason Day (11) and Jordan Spieth (11). Reed now has at least one win in eight of the last nine PGA Tour seasons.
Reed has become one of the most consistent closers on the Tour, as well, as he now has six wins in eight attempts. Since 2010, there are more than 50 players with four or more 54-hole leads or co-leads on the PGA Tour. Of that group, only five have won at a clip of 75% or better – Woods (100%), Steve Stricker (83.3%), Jimmy Walker (80%), Bryson DeChambeau (75%) and Reed (75%).
It was another week in contention for Tony Finau – but also another week without a return to the victory circle. The incredibly consistent Finau has now finished in the top-10 a remarkable 36 times since his lone PGA Tour win, the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. Finau has earned more than $18 million in official PGA Tour earnings during that span.
Will Zalatoris finished tied for seventh in his first official start of 2021. It continued a terrific run of consistently good play by Zalatoris – since the beginning of 2020, he now has 14 top-ten finishes around the world. That is the most of any player, across all major pro tours, during that span.
Paul Casey won the Dubai Desert Classic by four strokes, tying the largest margin of victory in his pro career. Casey was brilliant tee-to-green, gaining 16.9 strokes – five more than any other player in the field. In a week where the field averaged 298 yards off the tee and hit 46% of the fairways, Paul averaged 313 yards and had a driving accuracy number of nearly 80%.
Casey now has 15 wins on the European Tour, one of just four Englishmen with that distinction. The others are Sir Nick Faldo (30 wins), Lee Westwood (25) and Mark James (18). Casey has now won four times worldwide since turning 40 in July of 2017 – the same number of victories he had from ages 32 through 39. Casey has now finished in the top-ten in both of his starts worldwide this year, already eclipsing his single top-ten finish in all of 2020.
The European Tour heads next to the Saudi International, where an elite field will be competing. World number one Dustin Johnson will be there – he’s finished first and second in his two previous starts. Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton are just a few of the other stellar names in the field.
The PGA Tour shifts to Arizona this week for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It’s the site of the last win worldwide for Rickie Fowler, who took home the victory in dramatic fashion in 2019. Fowler is a combined 65-under-par at TPC Scottsdale the last five years, 13 strokes better than any other player in that span.